Symposium: ‘Toxic’! Toxicity In-Between the Humanities and Natural Sciences

deadline for submissions: 
October 14, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Chair of English Literature and British Cultural Studies, University of Würzburg

‘Toxic’! Toxicity In-Between the Humanities and Natural Sciences // 18 Nov. 2022 (09.00-17.00 CET)


Toxicity and intoxication surround us: If anything, the resurgence of the terms in the late 2010s reminds us of this statement’s basic truth. Toxic masculinity, for example, has become a rallying cry against problematic gender norms, while Britney Spears’ 2003 mega-hit ‘Toxic’ has become a queer anthem conjuring the ‘poison paradise’. The future of our planet is decided at the dead banks of toxic rivers, with people living on toxic soil and drowning in an increasing mass of toxic waste. In the Western world, lifestyle-gurus promise ‘mental detox’ while an opioid crisis ravages the United States.

Toxicity is at the crossroads, floating between being a natural and a cultural signifier, between escapism, problem, and proposed paradigm. Our symposium seeks to understand the toxic by synergising different, interdisciplinary, perspectives on toxicity, from literary through environmental to cultural studies. We hope to assemble students and researchers at the University of Würzburg to discuss toxicity In-Between the Humanities and Natural Sciences.


Call for Papers

We invite interested scholars and students from all disciplines and levels of study to submit proposals for 20-minute papers to Kindly send an abstract of max. 300 words & a biography of max. 100 words.

You may present either in German or in English.

The topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Toxicity and environment

Toxicity and literature

Toxicity and culture

Toxicity and gender


Key deadlines

Submission deadline: 14 October 2022

Notification of acceptance: 7 November 2022 (at the latest)


The symposium will be taking place as an in-person event at the University of Würzburg, Germany.

Convenors: Adrian Döring and Anna Frieda Kuhn 


For further information about our call for papers participation, or any other aspect of the symposium, please feel free to contact us at